The Return of Prayer: But if God gives you an answer, and you don’t want to listen…

Taken and adapted from, “The Return of Prayers.”
Written by Thomas Goodwin, Puritan
Edited for dynamic thought and sense

7d0ed581-186e-42bc-ba26-3e8d3f79d2baBut if God gives you an answer, and if you don’t want to listen…

…you let God speak to you in vain, because you are not listening to what he has to tell you. If two men are walking along, and if one has spoken what’s on his mind but ignores the other man’s answers, he greatly insults the man.

Now if you want to study God’s dealings with us, do so by comparing our prayers with his answers; that is, by our speaking to God in prayer, and his speaking to us by way of answers. Why? Because  in essence, these dialogues between us and him comprise the greater part of our walk with God. It is said of Samuel’s prophecy, “that not a word of it fell to the ground,” 1 Sam.3:19; and so it may be said of our prayers; and so it ought to be of God’s answers as well; not a word of them should fall to the ground.

Now in 1 Kings, 8:56, it is said,”there hath not failed one word of all his good promises.” Solomon had observed this by painstaking survey, and by making comparisons of all which God had spoken and done for them, and he found not one promise unfulfilled.

 And so Solomon brings these exact words here for a very specific purpose: to confirm their faith in this, that no prayers would fail, if grounded on a promise. 

This was done to encourage others, and to even encourage his own heart to diligence. And it was also done as a motive for God to hear him; for in verse 59, he infers,”Let my words be nigh thee,” seeing you always thus perform your good word unto your people. Yes, if you don’t listen, you will provoke the Lord to not answer at all; he will forbear to answer, because he sees that talking to you will be in complete vain.

When a man is talking to someone that’s not listening, he will cease to talk, and completely leave off communicating, and so will God.

How to know that you are walking with and pleasing God

Written by Henry Scudder, 1659

Thine ears shall hear a voice behind thee,
saying, “This is the Way, walk ye in it.”

–Isaiah 30:21.

The best and surest way to please God…

…and gain a cheerful quiet heart in the way to heaven is, to walk with God in uprightness, (through faith in Jesus Christ,) being careful in nothing: but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to make your request known unto God, which if you do, the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall so establish your heart and mind, in and through Christ Jesus, that you may live in a heaven upon earth, and may be joyous and comfortable in all estates and conditions of life whatsoever.

That you should walk with God in uprightness, is commended to you in the cloud of examples, of Enoch, Gen. 5:22, 24; Noah, Gen. 6: 9; Job, Job 1:1; David, 1 Kings 9: 4; Zacharias and Elizabeth, Luke 1:6: with many others, renowned in Scripture; and is commanded to Abraham, and, in him, to all the faithful, Gen. 17: 1.

To live by faith (which is, to frame your heart and life according to the will of God revealed in his word) and to walk with God, are all one. Enoch was said to have walked with God, Gen. 5:24; what was this else, but to rest and believe on God, whereby he pleased him? Heb. 11:5, 6. For according to what we live, according to that we are said to walk, Col. 3:7. The moral actions of man’s life are fitly resembled by the metaphor of walking, which is a moving from one place to another.

No man, while he lives here, is at home in the place where he shall be, Heb. 13:14. There are two contrary homes, to which every man is always going, either to heaven, or to hell. Every action of man is one pace or step whereby he goes to the one place or the other. So that God’s own children, while they live in this world as pilgrims and strangers, are but in the way, not in the country which they seek, which is heavenly, Heb. 11:3-16.

This life of faith and holiness, 1Thess. 1:9, 10, what is it? It is but a going out of a man’s self, and a continual returning to God (by Christ Jesus) from the way of sin and death, and a constant perseverance in all those acts of obedience which God hath ordained to be the way, for all his children to walk in, unto eternal life. Eph. 2:10.

A godly life is said to be a walking with God in respect of four things that concur thereunto.

First, Whereas by sin we naturally are departed from God, Isa. 53:6, and gone away from his ways which he has appointed for us, Rom. 3:12, we, by the new and living way of Christ’s death and resurrection Heb. 10: 20, and by the new and living work of Christ’s Spirit, are brought near to God; and are set in the ways of God, by repentance from dead works, and by faith towards God in Christ Jesus; which are the first principles of true religion, Heb. 6:1, and the first steps to this great duty of walking with God. Now, to believe and to continue in the faith, is, to walk in Christ, Col. 2:6, 7, therefore to walk with God.

Secondly, The revealed will of God is called God’s way, because in it God doth as it were display the secrets of his holy Majesty, to shew his people their way to him, and so bring them nigh unto himself; as the inspired Psalmist speaks: Righteousness shall go before him, and shall set us in the way of his steps, Psa. 85: 13. Now this way of righteousness revealed in the sacred scriptures, is the rule of a godly life: He who walks according to God’s law, is said to walk before God, (compare 1 Kings 8:25, with 2 Chron. 6:16.) So that he who walks according to God’s will in the various changes and conditions of life, keeping himself to this rule, walks with God.

Thirdly, He that lives a godly life, walks after the Spirit, not after the flesh. He is led by the Spirit of God, Rom. 8: 1-14, having him for his guide; wherefore in this respect also he is said to walk with God, Gal. 6:16.

Fourthly, He that walks with God, sees, by the eye of faith, God is present with him in all his actions; seriously thinking of him upon all occasions, remembering him in his ways, Isa. 64:5 : setting the Lord always before him, as David did, Ps. 16:8 ; seeing him that is invisible, as Moses did, Heb. 11: 27; doing all things, as Paul did, as of God, in the sight of God, 2 Cor. 2:17. Now he who so walks that he always observes God’s presence, and keeps him still in his view in the course of his life, not only with a general and habitual, but, as much as he can, with an actual intention to please and glorify God, this man may be said to walk with God.

Thus you may know when you walk with God:

(1.) When you daily go on to repent of sins past, believe in Jesus Christ for pardon, and believe his word for direction.

(2.) When you walk not according to the will of man, but of God.

(3.) When you walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

(4.) When you set God before you, and walk as in his sight, then you walk with, before, after, and according to God: for all these are understood in one sense.

That you may walk with God consider these arguments further to convince and motivate you: